[SWE] SAS wins award for EuroBonus loyalty program

Scandinavian Airlines’ frequent flyer program EuroBonus was named winner in the category Best Airline Redemption Ability for Europe/Africa at last night’s Frequent Traveler Award Gala in New York. The gala was held in conjunction with the Frequent Traveler and Loyalty Conference.

“We are extremely honored to win this award, as we feel it really highlights our efforts to make it easier for our EuroBonus members to access and redeem their points. We have introduced a number of new initiatives that our members really appreciate, and winning this award signifies that we have one of the best loyalty programs within the airline industry,” says Per Møller Jensen, Vice President – Brand, Marketing and EuroBonus, SAS.

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[SWE] TeliaSonera first to launch 4G in Lithuania

TeliaSonera has launched the first commercial 4G / LTE service in Lithuania and to customers in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys. The 4G network is one of the first networks in the world to use the 1800 MHz frequency. TeliaSonera continues the 4G network rollout in Lithuania during 2011.

”It is a positive trend in European countries to offer technology neutral frequency bands which gives customers faster access to new technology such as fast mobile broadband like 4G. The early deployment of 4G on 1800 MHz in Lithuania is a good example of this. TeliaSonera builds out the mobile networks and modernise the infrastructure in the Nordic and Baltic countries. We have an expansive rollout plan based on the high customer demand for mobile data services,” says Claes Nycander, CTO Mobility Services TeliaSonera.

With 4G, customers can use mobile broadband services with speeds up to ten times higher than today’s 3G. 4G opens up new possibilities for customers to use and enjoy services on their laptops that require high transmission speed and capacity, such as online gaming and advanced business solutions. Also services demanding low response times like bidding on online auctions as well as fast upload such as live TV broadcasting.

“Omnitel have launched the fastest mobile broadband services in Lithuania just one year after the initial 4G launches in Sweden and Norway. This proves that Lithuania is amongst leaders in the global telecommunications market. Omnitel’s customers demand faster mobile data services and with 4G we are responding to their needs offering the most advanced mobile technology in the world”, says Omnitel’s President Antanas Zabulis.

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[SWE] Vattenfall to sell parts of its Swedish engineering consultancy

Vattenfall has agreed to sell parts of its Swedish engineering consultancy, Vattenfall Power Consultant AB to Pöyry PLC. The engineering consultancy, focusing on hydro power, wind power and power networks as well as thermal power, will be incorporated into a newly established company in Sweden to be called SwedPower AB.

The divestment is part of Vattenfall’s new strategic direction, focusing on the core business and markets in Sweden, Germany and Netherlands. Engineering and technical consultancy offered primarily to an external market is no longer regarded as a core business within Vattenfall and this unit will therefore have better possibilities to develop under a new owner.

The units divested, include approximately 360 employees at 22 offices located in Sweden, Norway and the UK, with a particularly strong local presence in Sweden.

The transaction is conditional to completion of a due diligence process, the agreement on transitional services and the final approvals of the Boards of Directors of Pöyry and Vattenfall. Completion is expected to take place at the latest by the end of June 2011.

Christopher Eckerberg, Vice President and Head of BU Engineering of  Vattenfall: “We are pleased to have found a new owner for our Swedish engineering consultancy business in such a respected company as Pöyry. SwedPower will continue to be an important engineering partner for Vattenfall and a great place for our people to continue developing their skills.”

Heikki Malinen, President and CEO of Pöyry: “Pöyry is very pleased to have the Vattenfall experts join Pöyry. Vattenfall has decades of experience from engineering and implementing projects in the energy sector. With Vattenfall experts joining Pöyry, we will together be able to offer our clients unique solutions in hydro, thermal, networks and renewable energy. This joining of forces will also open major opportunities for common projects globally. For Pöyry, the acquisition is a major step in growing the energy business in Sweden.”

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[SWE] ASSA ABLOY sells Cardo Flow Solutions

ASSA ABLOY has through its subsidiary Cardo AB signed an agreement with the Swiss company Sulzer Ltd to sell Cardo Flow Solutions. The selling price is SEK 5,900 M on a cash and debt free basis. The agreement does not include Lorentzen & Wettre.

At the announcement of the public offer for Cardo on December 13, 2010, ASSA ABLOY communicated its intention to consolidate Cardo Entrance Solutions in ASSA ABLOY’s division Entrance Systems and to sell the other businesses, i.e. Cardo Flow Solutions and Lorentzen & Wettre, that do not long term fit ASSA ABLOY’s operations.

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2011 and is subject to regulatory approvals.

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[SWE] Volvo order for 180 buses for New York City

Volvo Buses has received an order for 180 buses for public transport in New York City via its subsidiaries Prevost and Nova Bus. The customer wants to test how the buses cope with the demands of the New York City traffic.

The customer is MTA New York City Transit, which is responsible for the subway and bus traffic in New York City. The company has 4,500 buses, making it the largest fleet in North America. Volvo Buses has received two major orders in recent times through its two subsidiaries in North America.

For Prevost, it involves an order for 90 X3-45 express coaches, which will be used for traffic for commuters. The X3-45 coach features have been developed for the New York City transit operation with a focus on passenger safety, accessibility, low operation costs and ease of maintenance.

New York City Transit awarded the order to Prevost to be able to test the X3-45 model, with respect to durability, reliability and lifetime value. The first coach will be delivered in July this year and the remaining 89 will be delivered between October 2011 and January 2012.

Last year, Nova Bus delivered 90 articulated buses to New York City Transit. The company has now received an order for 90 Nova LFS 12-meter buses. Nova will deliver the buses in three different configurations to allow the customer to test various technical solutions.

The Nova buses will be built in the company’s plant in Plattsburgh in the New York state and deliveries are scheduled for the first half of 2011.

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[SWE] Autoliv constructs new seatbelt plant

Autoliv Inc. has started construction of a new factory building in Nanjing that will replace the Company’s existing plant in the city.  The first construction phase of the new plant is approximately 50% larger than the existing Nanjing facility. The cost for the new facility, including the site of 66,000 square meters, should be about $10 million.

Currently, Autoliv has 800 employees in Nanjing, which will be increased by 200 when the expansion has been completed. The plant produces seatbelts for many of the major vehicle companies in China, such as Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co., Shanghai General Motors Corp., Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automotive Co., Chery Automobile Co., Geely Automobile Co., SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicles Co.

Recently, Autoliv announced two other expansions of its Chinese manufacturing capacity. In December, the Company announced that it is expanding its manufacturing capacity in China for electronics by 50%, and last week Autoliv announced that it will increase its manufacturing capacity in Northern China by 25%.

Autoliv has ten facilities in China, including a technical center with a crash tests facility for complete vehicles. The Company has 5,500 employees in China. The Chinese market accounted, in 2010, for 11% of the Company’s sales, an increase from 4% three years ago.

Last year, light vehicle production in China grew by 29%. Autoliv’s sales grew by more than 60%.

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[SWE] Scania unveils engines to meet future environmental standards

Scania is now prepared to start delivering trucks with engines that comply with the European emission standards (Euro 6) which are being introduced in 31 December 2013. The engines combine a host of innovative technical solutions to cut emissions radically. Emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates are cut by around 80 percent compared with the standards currently in force (Euro 5).

Scania’s Euro 6 engines make it possible for keen operators to take the next step and invest in the greenest technology available in the market. They will be able to benefit from lower motorway charges and other incentives that may be introduced by authorities. Vehicles with the latest emission standard also command a higher value in the second-hand market.

“We are proud to be able to make this remarkable feat of engineering available to our customers even now. The new engines are designed to give the same performance and fuel efficiency as their Euro 5 counterparts,” says Martin Lundstedt, Executive Vice President in charge of Scania’s sales and marketing.

In the development of the Euro 6 engines, all done in-house, Scania has combined all the new technologies developed by the company in recent years: exhaust gas recirculation, variable turbo geometry, common-rail high-pressure fuel injection, selective catalytic reduction and particulate filtering.

“Add to that our own engine and exhaust management technology, which has now been integrated into one system”, says Jonas Hofstedt, Senior Vice President Powertrain Development.

The development of the new engine generation and the technology to meet future emission legislation has taken five years and involves costs for Scania of approximately SEK 10 billion.

Euro 6 emission standards will enter into force in the European Union and certain neighbouring countries on 31 December 2012 for new vehicle models and one year later for all new vehicles sold.

Euro 6 is the first step towards the implementation of world harmonised emission standards, encompassing Europe, North America and Japan and this will facilitate coordination and development for future standards.

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[SWE] Swedish National Debt Office intends to release Saab security

The Swedish National Debt Office, the SNDO, concluded its discussions with Saab Automobile AB regarding the financing proposal presented by Saab already on Tuesday of this week.

An agreement on principles had been finalized during the course of Sunday evening, with Saab drafting the necessary agreements on Monday and some final adjustments being made on Tuesday. The agreements are now ready to be executed, pending the approval of the European Investment Bank, the EIB.

The SNDO intends to release the shares in PropCo, a property company owned by Saab. The intention is to enable Saab Automobile AB to enter into a sale-lease-back arrangement in order to strengthen the company’s liquidity. The transaction needs the EIB’s approval.

The SNDO has security in respect of Saab’s counter-indemnity for a state guarantee which was issued in order for Saab to obtain a loan for a maximum of EUR 400 million from the EIB. To date Saab has drawn EUR 217 million on that facility.

The SNDO intends to release a part of the security not required to cover Saab’s present obligations. Concurrently, the maximum loan amount with the EIB is reduced from EUR 400 million to EUR 280 million.

The agreement made by Saab with its counterparties fulfills the requirements set by the SNDO and the Swedish Government – the transaction will secure reasonable consideration for Saab, integrity issues regarding the buyer have been adequately addressed, and the payment to Saab will be made from a bank licensed within the European Union.

The Swedish taxpayers will also after the release have adequate security covering the current exposure under Saab’s counter-indemnity, as the maximum amount that can be drawn from the EIB facility has been reduced.
Acceptance of new owners

The release of security does not change the ownership structure in Saab Automobile AB. The question of accepting Mr. Vladimir Antonov as a new owner in Saab is thus a separate issue.

The SNDO’s and the Swedish Government’s ownership assessment of Mr Antonov arises from a separate, already existing agreement between Saab Automobile AB and the SNDO. The EIB and General Motors will also have to take an independent view on the matter, in a process separate from that of the SNDO.

The SNDO’s assessment of Mr Vladimir Antonov as a possible owner of Saab is delayed as Mr Antonov has not been available for a meeting with the SNDO.

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[FIN] Metso in sustainable urban planning project in China with Aalto University

Metso, in collaboration with Aalto University and Aalto Tongji Design Factory, is implementing the Good Mill project to create an eco-efficient urban planning model that embraces ethical values. The project integrates the urban environment, industry and sustainability in a new, innovative way. The model example used in the plan is Chongming Island, located in Shanghai, China.

”The goal is to create a foundation for an ecological, urban community in which industry is an integral element in the heart of the metropolis,” says Petteri Venetjoki from Metso Industrial Design Center.

”The Good Mill project has been very successful in its mission to develop a future factory concept that is based on a completely new way of thinking and is part of the heart of the Chinese eco-city. Tight collaboration between Metso’s experts and both universities has been the key to success in the project,” says Professor Kalevi Ekman, Director, Aalto Design Factory.

Metso’s advanced technology in e.g. recycling, bioenergy and paper manufacturing, and expertise have played an important role in the project. At this point, the goal of the Good Mill project is concept planning. In the plan, waste management, recycling and energy production are handled on the residents’ terms without compromising comfort and ecology aspects. The project aims to create a concept that promotes sustainability and can be used in future urban planning.

Aalto University, located in Finland, is a new science and arts community formed by the merger of the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and the Helsinki University of Technology.

Aalto Tongji Design Factory is a joint project between Aalto University and the Chinese Tongji University. It is an opening to collaboration between the universities. Aalto Tongji Design Factory has multidisciplinary and international courses, events and projects.

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[FIN] Tikkurila acquires Serbian paint company Zorka Color

Tikkurila has acquired the business operations of Serbian paint company Zorka Color. The seller of the operations to be acquired is Zorka Color d.o.o. and its subsidiaries, and the buyer is Tikkurila Oyj and its subsidiaries. The acquisition will strengthen Tikkurila’s position, in accordance with the company’s strategy, in Central Eastern Europe and in the Balkans in particular.

According to Zorka Color, the company’s revenue in 2010 was approximately EUR 16.2 million, operating profit (EBIT) EUR 1.0 million, and the average number of employees some 150.

The completion of the acquisition requires an approval from the competition authorities and the fulfillment of the other terms and conditions of the transaction, which are estimated to be concluded by the end of June 2011. The purchase price will be specified before the closing, and the price will be partly based on the future results of the business operations to be acquired.

Zorka Color’s corporate and product brands, customer relationships, other intangible rights, machinery and equipment, as well as the net working capital tied into the business are included in the transaction. However, land, buildings and interest-bearing debt of the target are not included in the acquisition. In the acquisition, a long-term lease agreement was also signed, enabling Tikkurila to lease a production facility located in Sabac, Serbia, from Zorka Color. Zorka Color’s employees will become Tikkurila’s personnel.

In addition to Serbia, Zorka Color also operates in Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Kosovo. According to estimates by Tikkurila’s management, Zorka Color is one of the three largest players in Serbia and the largest player in Macedonia in the decorative paints business. Trademarks to be transferred to Tikkurila in the acquisition include, for example, Linea, Decolux, Zoralux, and Mixline.

”The acquisition of Zorka Color’s business operations strengthens Tikkurila’s position in Central Eastern Europe in accordance with our growth strategy. Through the acquisition, our geographical area expands into the Balkans, which is an interesting economic area. Zorka Color is a strong brand with a great product portfolio. The company’s market position is strong in particular in Serbia,” states Erkki Järvinen, President and CEO of Tikkurila Oyj.


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